Saif Ansari graduated recently from UCLA with a BA in philosophy and is now an MA student at NYU, also in philosophy. He is interested mostly in political philosophy, ethics and law. Saif wrote for two years as a columnist for UCLA's student-run newspaper The Daily Bruin. He wrote for and edited several other publications at UCLA and maintains a personal blog at www.sansari.wordpress.com. Follow him on Twitter @vetoshield.
The NYPD and the Surveillance of Muslim Americans
Muslim Americans are the subject of secret surveillance, both online and off, without
the knowledge of university authorities, and, in some cases, without
even the knowledge of other local law enforcement.
Abercrombie & Fitch Acts a Fool Once Again
Really, Abercrombie? Did you have to act a fool again? I get it: hijabs don't exactly jive with the whole "mostly nude, mostly white, 20-something surfer dude/chick" look. But what I don't get is the suspension and subsequent firing of former Hollister employee (an A&F company) Hani Khan for wearing one.
South Asian American Youth, Listen Up: Attend the 2011 Bay Area Solidarity Summer
The Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA) is now accepting applications from youth of South Asian descent for Bay Area Solidarity Summer (BASS), taking place in Oakland from July 22 to 26.
Hyphen at the National Conference on Media Reform, April 8-10 in Boston
A few months ago fellow hyphenator Nina Fallenbaum told me about the upcoming National Conference on Media Reform in Boston. Once upon a time, before her Hyphen days, she attended. Now I am, and so is Hyphen.
Chinatown Fair: Historic Manhattan Chinatown Video Game Arcade Closes Doors Forever
Last week I got an invite on Facebook to a pleasant Sunday afternoon outing of dim sum in Manhattan's Chinatown, followed by a brief excursion to Chinatown Fair, a nearby video game arcade. Indifferent to the prospect of dim sum, but not to Street Fighter, I eagerly clicked "attending." I grew up in arcades, playing different incarnations of Street Fighter and old airplane shooters as a child, undeterred by game overs and defeats, and rushing back to my mother when I ran out of quarters. I had studying to do but my heart raced in anticipation. To hell with my studies, I exclaimed, and the reading for my Monday ethics course! Give me Street Fighter or give me death!
Attempt to Abolish Birthright Citizenship Newest Expression of Anti-Immigrant Fervor in US
So SB 1070 wasn't inhumane enough. Not only should undocumented immigrants live in fear of constant deportation at a moment's notice, away from their families and children -- legislators have realized that their anti-immigrant crusade can extend specifically to children, too: Republicans Senators David Vitter of Louisiana and Rand Paul of Kentuck argue that the 14th Amendment be itself amended: they propose that birthright citizenship be abolished altogether.
Limbaugh's Racist Rendition of Chinese President Speech Leads to Death Threats against California Senator
Rush Limbaugh's crass schoolyard rendition of Chinese President Hu Jintao's speech during a recent visit proves once again that in the land of uber douchebags Limbaugh is king. Not to be outdone by Adam Corolla and Rosie O'Donnell, Limbaugh ching-chong'ed better than any of his douchebag predecessors, successfully enraging the Asian American community and adding yet another honor to his plaque in the Douchebag Hall of Fame.
Steve Li's Deportation, Set for [Nov 15], Delayed
Steve Li, detained by Arizona authorities since Sept 14 and set to be deported Nov 15, is at least for the moment safe (albeit in a detention facility).
New Report Documents Islamophobia and Racism in America Since 9/11
SAALT (South Asian Americans Leading Together) released a report last week called "From Macacas to Turban Toppers: The Rise in Xenophobic and Racist Rhetoric in American Political Discourse." The report documents the rise of Islamophobia in political discourse in America: specifically, hateful and racist remarks by American politicians about Muslim Americans, South Asians, Arabs and Sikhs, and their effects since 9/11. If you've ever wanted a resource for hate-mongering and Islamophobia in America since 9/11, this is it.
Is America Becoming More Islamophobic?
Two weeks ago Ahmed Sharif, a Bangladeshi taxi driver in Manhattan, was stabbed repeatedly after confirming that he was indeed Muslim.
It was, of course, a hate crime. Micheal Enright, the man held in custody and suspected of attacking Sharif, hailed Sharif's taxi and greeted him with the Muslim greeting of "assalamu alaikum," or, "peace be upon you," before deriding Sharif for fasting for Ramadan, declaring that it was a checkpoint, and finally revealing a knife and slashing at Sharif's neck and face several times.
At first I responded to the news that another Muslim American had been violently attacked because of his religion with shock, but also sadly with a sense of routine.
Asians, SB 1070 and the Immigration Debate
The recent slew of anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona is a threat not only to Latino immigrants at whom it is clearly targeted, but also to Asian immigrants and citizens.
The 1700% Project
Before I interviewed artist and student Anida Yoeu Ali of the 1700% Project I watched her video "Mistaken for Muslim." Part of the 1700% Project, the video depicts in vivid spoken word form a number of hate crimes directed at Muslim-Americans since 9/11. Before I had a chance to talk to her, however, Ali informed me that an art exhibit she created at the School of Art Institute of Chicago as part of the 1700% Project had been vandalized. Ali's exhibit, designed specifically to address the issue of hate crimes, had ironically become the site of one